Muni-mail – Do Flashing Police Lights Mean Don’t Leave the Scene? – State v. Adubato
[05/23/11 – 11:59 pm] This morning, in a case captioned State v. Adubato, the Appellate Division ruled that a motorist who had parked his vehicle in front of his own residence was not necessarily detained by the police when they pulled up behind his vehicle and initialized their overhead lights. In Adubato, the police responded to a telephone call that reported a vehicle riding around the neighborhood, repeatedly stopping. The caller also suspected that the operator was intoxicated. The police pulled up to a stopped vehicle and noted that the driver was out of the vehicle. The police activated their overhead lights and began to question the driver. His intoxicated state was immediately apparent to the police who subsequently arrested him. The Appellate Division ruled that the use of overhead lights by police do not necessarily imply either detention or arrest. Rather, among the many purposes for the use of these lights is officer safety. Thus, the actions by the police in stopping to speak to the motorist were reasonable as either an inquiry or as a community caretaking function.
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